“Be sure to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down).”
So that’s what I did. Kept using the iPod without ever plugging it in until it ran out of power. Later that day, picked it up and plugged it into the Mini, hoping to recharge and sync it with iTunes. But what did I see? “Detected an iPod in recovery mode.” I need to restore it, ie. reformat it and resync 80G of music.
In the words of little Noah: “Danke. Danke vielmahl!” (Thanks. Thanks a lot!)